Do you ever feel like you’re talking a foreign language to your spouse? You know what you are saying and how you mean for it to come across, but your spouse misunderstands or even completely takes it opposite of what you meant?
I’ve been there. So. Many. Times.
Often I can’t articulate what I am feeling very well, and the whole conversation goes south fast. Is it just me? Tell me I’m not alone in this.
I grew up in a different environment than my husband. Conflict resolution didn’t happen in my family. Angry outbursts and hurtful words were followed by silent treatment. A few days would pass and then the incident was brushed under the rug. Conflict ended, but was never resolved.
Relationships don’t grow deeper if conflict resolution only happens at the surface level.
In the first decade of our marriage, communication was rough, especially when disagreements happened. My husband would want to work it out, but I would get mad and cop an attitude. The silent treatment was my default reaction.
He is a problem solver, so this entire situation would frustrate him. I would want to be alone and remain in my stuffy state. Then I wanted to return to normal like nothing happened, only to repeat this cycle again and again.
These spats not only caused physical disruption to our family’s life, but also caused a division that ran much deeper into our emotional intimacy.
What I then started doing was to hide my feelings or sugar coat them. However, this didn’t work either because I would feel inner tension toward him. I would blow up and he would feel gob smacked with a hit out of right field.
Where did that come from? Not good at all and it wasn’t helpful in the least. Ugh! Will I ever get this right?
What not to do when you’re disagreeing with your spouse:
- Yell at them.
- Belittle and disrespect them.
- Compete against them, there’s no winner in this fight.
- Give the silent treatment.
- Stew and then brush it under the rug.
- Hide true feelings.
Can I be honest for a minute?
I once used the “D-word” (aka divorce) during a heated fight ten years ago. My tongue run wild, and I didn’t mean it. I was wrong. My husband will bring this up and I fear my stupidity of letting my tongue reign free will haunt me.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
It’s not only what we say, but also how we act. Body language can be just as powerful in hurting our spouse. How many times do we close down? Avert our eyes. Roll our eyes. Cross our arms across our chests. We retreat back and act like we are disgusted with our significant other.
How we can act so unloving and unlovable in these moments?
I want to be so much better in the good times and the trying times with my spouse. Unconditional love flows throughout seasons.
Ten Ways to Communicate Better With Your Spouse:
- Be honest and transparent in your feelings.
- Encourage each other to share what’s bothering them
- Affirm your spouse’s feelings. Try to see their side of the story.
- Be kind to your spouse. Who wants to share feelings when someone is mean?
- Accept that both of you will fail and screw up. Grace is freely offered to us and should be freely offered from us.
- Relationships take time and work. Keep trying and re-trying.
- Make up as soon as possible.
- Pray for each other and your marriage.
- Work together.
- Focus on the good in your spouse.
The core truth is we have to expect failing on both of our parts. Growth happens through pain and trying times, even in relationships. My marriage has come a long way in how we deal with conflict. We are not perfect, but I can see growth in how we deal with disagreements in our relationship.
It’s been helpful to grow in faith individually so we can approach our marriage with a God perspective. It offers more grace, mercy and love towards each other.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)